What Are Scaling and Root Planing and How Can They Save Your Smile?

It’s an unfortunate fact that periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in America, and a percentage of every age group suffers from it. That’s the bad news. The good news is, modern dentistry has some very effective ways to treat the disease in all its stages. Periodontal scaling and root planing are two of those ways, which means if you’re suffering from the disease and are looking for an Orlando periodontist, you’ll want to make sure he or she is an expert in these procedures. But what are scaling and root planing, and how do they work to save your smile? Let’s find out.

periodontal scaling and root planing

Who is Best Suited?

Scaling, sometimes called deep cleaning, and root planing are effective treatment options for patients who are in the beginning stages of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Gum disease starts when plaque and tartar are allowed to build up along the gum line and roots of each tooth. Plaque is a sticky, bacteria-filled film that develops around our teeth from everyday encounters with food, and regular brushing and flossing go a long way toward removing plaque before it can become troublesome. But for those individuals who don’t maintain good oral hygiene, plaque not only thrives but becomes worse, turning into tartar. Once that happens, it is significantly harder to remove from teeth, and patients with tartar buildup will need an Orlando periodontist who specializes in periodontal scaling and root planing to get rid of it. This is important because, depending on your circumstance, getting rid of tartar at this stage can keep gum disease from advancing any further.

How is it Done?

When a patient undergoes scaling of the teeth, the periodontist uses special tools to gently and safely scrape the surface of teeth to remove plaque and tartar. This scraping can extend beneath the gum line, and if need be, down to the root of the teeth, to clean hard-to-reach areas. Root planing is the process of smoothing the surface of a tooth’s roots. Plaque and tartar are more likely to attach to rough areas, so smoothing the surfaces of the root will help ensure that plaque and tartar do not continue to build in the patient’s mouth. Scaling and planing teeth and their roots thoroughly allows them to heal from bacterial attack and encourages gum tissue to reestablish a tight bond around each tooth, helping to seal out food particles that can encourage bacterial growth.

Both periodontal scaling and root planing are often employed when patients are in the early stages of gum disease, and many times it’s all they need to halt the progression. Regular cleanings afterward will ensure that teeth and gums stay healthy and free of disease-causing bacteria. For other patients, however, scaling and root planing are done in preparation of periodontal surgery. The teeth and gums are thoroughly cleaned and allowed to heal before more invasive measures are taken.

No matter what stage of gum disease a patient may be in, we can help! For more information, reach out to us today.